tv After Words CSPAN July 26, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
is the most democratic media is when a person writes a letter to an elected official like a mayor, governor can't be censored or destroyed command not to try to answer it or technology so that people know that it's not going to some dark hole is a major issue i think and most people don't realize realize in a written letter to a politician has far more impact than an e-mail. >> you certainly don't expect him to answer every letter. and we speak about that in the book. >> guest: a lot of people don't know the teams of volunteers go to the white house every morning and separate all these letters. no one expects the president to answer these letters. but he has a staff and departments and agencies throughout the executive branch
and they should all be acknowledged and that's my complaint. we have letters for high-profile issues like the bailout people are writing a book of letters, yes. now they will send a call like this which doesn't even answer the letter or they will write letters to supporters or contributors and presidents do write personal letters to the governor mayor that supports the president or that gives some money so anybody that says that the president doesn't assign particular letters to particular people doesn't know what they are talking about. and they also - here's where you can hear the letter from the white house. i want you to attend my daughter's high school graduation. they have to be polite so they write a letter expressing
regret. >> host: or dear mr. president i want to give you money. a scout i have a variety of letters which they could send out to the secretary of energy secretary of energy, transportation, the head of the federal trade commission. but they do not even acknowledge my letters and so i wrote bush and obama a letter and i said what is your policy answering letters and they didn't answer that one either. so, by comparison i sent to critical letters to the paymaster in canada and that came before mullah college meant and they've reverted to the prospective ministry. you at least know they answer the letters. so if it all goes to a dark hole and it's not acknowledged and few people write letters and the service shows the letter writing is declining.
in canada they have an affirmative policy to encourage people to write letters to the members of parliament or the prime minister because it's free. no stamp is needed. in our country the politicians are free. they sent send letters to the provision. but we can't do it in reverse. >> host: you said most of the letters were not answered. a couple were. >> guest: i want to make it easy when he's running for the reelection i said here's what president carter did he went to a major hotel ballroom three blocks from the white house and we filled it with a thousand liters of citizen groups, labor environment, religious charities, community groups, you name it who have millions of members out there around the country that support these groups so it's called the
nonprofit sector. and i said you've gone to india and you always have to have a little spark in the letter. you've gone to promote hardly davidson motorcycles airplanes and it's three blocks. you can do that and you did walk across lafayette park and they criticize them every day. i thought that it was good for him because he brings visibility to them and they would get more contributions from people. and by the way a lot of jobs are involved in the sector so more contributions more service for people in need etc.. so i sent a letter to michelle obama and she writes back and says thank you very much the president is busy. when you persist and try to get
an answer you get a response that's more interesting. >> host: there's another letter there is another letter that you got from president bush where he actually invited you to contribute and what did you reply? >> guest: this is a letter to me by name. they can separate out. >> guest: is a response to a letter that you send or you happened to be on the list? >> guest: key was in the office in 2012 and he's asking me for money because the presidential library. i consider him a war criminal along with dick cheney. i've picketed him and challenged him publicly. the computer is nonpartisan. so anyway, i said i tried him on his criminal invasion of iraq and how he didn't even have the decency to open up to the
refugees who were not supportive of the mission but to feed their family they were chauffeurs country and leaders, they put their lives at risk. some lost their lives because of that and we led 160,000 vietnam refugees were maybe 10,000 of the most iraqi refugees. then at the end we said i think i want to make a contribution. so i sent them a book by this mainstream think tank and the title of the book is rogue nation. >> host: did you get a reply to that? >> guest: [inaudible] >> host: a lot of the letters are funny in some ways you wrote about a trigger just named e. coli. can you speak about that? >> guest: there was a bacterial outbreak some people died and it was a bacteria they gave it the name equal i and
then some numbers. so i've been trying to get them back to president clinton to redefine terrorism. if you are worried about the loss of an innocent civilian life you want to worry about viruses and bacteria are just the ones that come from africa or asia and we are dealing with a lot of mutations. you are a scientist this is a scary thing if we don't get ready in time it could be like the influenza epidemic after world war i and so i'm saying how am i going to get to these people, so i decide to write a letter and e. coli is sitting in a petri dish and it's life is very limited. they are going to come and get it because we've already analyzed there is no use. so i've got to do something to medium myself. they made the case for the president to raise the parity of
the research focus concerned to prevent epidemics deadly epidemics all around the world and there is no one better india native states to confront that if we can get over the restriction. >> host: i was at a few of these events that you spoke about and the one that i was at the first one was politics and prose where the books launched. i was fascinated how that went. it was a great talk obviously but the question that you got was about why did you give the election to al gore in 2000. have you ever been to an event where you spoken to that question wasn't asked? >> guest: it just brings in people's heads. >> host: i thought your answers were so spot on and direct. the audience tends to be rather skeptical about the staunch democrats. but you cost applause.
please enumerate the answer because i think it's important for people to hear. >> guest: we cannot have political bigotry across the third-party candidates to exercise their constitutional rights. we all have the right to run for the election and if we have the right, big guy is third parties, we all have the right to get a vote from one another which means we are even sporty others of one another or none of us are spoilers. why should the party candidate peter citizen? that's the fundamental reply that the pragmatic reply you try to get through to these people is if you ask al gore why he lost he would say number one i won the election and the electoral college integrated through two into and then he would say it was stolen from him in a variety of ways in florida the secretary of state jeb bush, the shenanigans for those of us remember all that. then the supreme court.
and also would have been president if he had 11 state in his home state of tennessee that he represented in the house and the senate and the headquarters. so when you see any one of which >> host: 250,000 democrats voted republican in florida. 250,000. how much was that lost by? >> guest: a 37. before that recount. >> host: 250,000 democrats switched parties basically to vote. also arkansas. he was vice president to clinton. >> host: i'm just amazed at how many times people continued that question. >> guest: part of it is an alibi. they go for the least and they
so dislike the republicans that will accept anything on the offer and i tried to talk them if you do that you lose the bargaining power. they are pulling onto parties 24/7. so part of the progressive wing is becoming corporatized, militaristic wall street, i mean hillary clinton. how do you have any - it's not by saying we are going to go for the least. i'm not good to put any pressure on you in april, may june july. they tell them exactly told them exactly what the corporate democrats want to hear which is blanket support no matter what the democrats will do. and that mindset both parties get worse. >> host: back to the book have you sent a copy?
>> guest: they never got to the white house it has to be screened and all of the packages have to be screened. but now i think i have a contact in the white house and i may give it to her so she can give it to the president in the oval office. >> host: what would be a victory for you in this? a phone call from the president, and invite what would be a victory? >> guest: it would be first of all to acknowledge the letter. and by the way i send these letters around. you can't put all of of your eggs in the basket. you send it to the reporters at times, opponents, numbers of congress, you send it around to the university professor that interested in the subject. acknowledgment, that's a courteous, we have to do a courteous here. and i would like substantive responses. for example, we tried for six years to get an appointment with
the secretary of energy who is pro- nuclear and needs all of the time of the nuclear industry. and i had before the anti-nuclear groups that have been around for decades and have had been right and scientists etc. have never been able to see them. i wrote to president obama and i said your secretary is not giving equal time here anywhere near no answer and they didn't even refer further response. so i would like for them to get a response if they come from the white house we should have more meaning for the cabinet secretaries and assistants secretaries to respond. >> host: you spoke with two presidents, bush and obama. why did you stick with those two, were they more egregious than the other's?
>> guest: yes. it's getting worse. even senators and representatives. i'm shocked they don't respond. >> host: is it because of e-mails? >> guest: they are very secure in their seats. they have letters and they don't want to be bothered. they have the letters that are sandpaper and the noncontroversial. but i would write to jimmy carter and once in a while he would respond with a special assistant would respond. i would say to the senator asking for the congressional hearing and it would be in the "washington post". no matter how authoritative the letter is what's good against the missile defense saying that it's a total boondoggle ballistic missile defense 9 million a year almost as much as the eta budget he writes a
letter and its new. they don't report them that way they used to. i once wrote a letter to a public official and it was killing the workers in north carolina south carolina. page three "washington post." so it is a dying media. we've got to revive it and there is no one that can stop us because no one can stop us from writing letters and sending them around. no one can stop us from writing more powerful letters like putting this all different parties comes to the senator and the white house said this person and that. this is going to the reporter. i better write it. >> host: you have a podcast and people can go to it and find it. do you put those letters in the
podcast so that you have other ways to bring them out because obviously sending them to the white house you do not get a response or the attention but certainly there's a lot of people out there reading the alternative media and listening to the alternative radio. so aside from the alternative, let's talk a little bit about the use of the podcast. because the ultimate goal is to get the information out. it's not just to get an answer obviously. do you do a multitier approach to sending out this information? >> guest: i should do more of that. the program basically introduces people one very important subjects that are not in the news. so, that is the whole bulk of the program. i just interviewed steve silverstein and he hopes with others who are going to replace a presidential practice where
you come in second like it happened four times in american history most recently in 2000 when al gore came in first, bush came in second but the electoral college but that he would need supreme court held and who knows about that. it hundred 65 votes, that is they have the law passed from maryland to new york from illinois california. if they go to 270 that is the end. what do they say? in maryland or california they will throw the electoral votes completely to the winner of the national popular vote. so they redefine what the college cannot do. so we had him on. but you're right i should herald some of the letters and summarize them. >> host: one way would be to put the letter out. you would do some sort of a
grassroots activism so that people could actually - writes another letters, focus on the issue, do whatever it takes. because a lot of times from what i hear at least from people in congress and even the white house they do respond to the number of calls. so, when you have the same voices being heard voice is being heard over and over again there is a little bit of a take. >> guest: that's right. they may not respond that it has an impact if they are coming in with larger numbers. >> host: if people get on the phone and call the white house do you ever get a callback? >> guest: if i called a special assistant like gene sperling i would get a callback may be after the third call. you have to be quite persistent. >> host: when is the last time you are were invited in the white house? >> guest: .
he's a special assistant to handle our group so to speak we are invited several times but only to see him. you were named one of the most influential people in the century by "time" magazine and by the atlantic monthly. it is a better purpose don't you think, why do you think there is this resistance throughout. a >> guest: one is the campaign that produced a lot.
they challenged the mutating democratic party that is a shallow as it was in the 1960s. i think the second thing is if you don't get the mainstream pass coverage they don't think that they need to respond to you. so if "the new york times" decides they are not going to cover certain citizen groups, then why should we bother responding. it's too bad because these letters often point out things going on in their own government when i was in the chamber of
>> guest: more than that we would like to have a big celebration for the 50th anniversary. introduced leaders whose names are not on the evening news. it's likely started the solution first and over 25 of them now are student funded. they run the referendums and file lawsuits and they are multiplying themselves.
it's interesting because this does come out of the conversation that we had. they called together the platform at the time. >> guest: in the 19 '90s he has a box full of them. >> host: it had a picture of the statute of liberty building up. i have copies of data from originally we started talking about it.
they just know if people just knew how much power they have and they are up against what is it that they can do. so they face the average american citizen strengthened over time or has it weakened over time do you feel you are up against the tide that is hard to get your views across? >> guest: there is a progress fracture. now they know who rules them and who is he grading them under
insuring them. step number two is to avoid the demoralization. that is the problem can't people have given up on themselves, you can't fight the big boys text messaging. that's the biggest problem. it means they've given up on themselves even though the constitution constitution starts and ends with we the people. you have the demoralization. they are engaged throughout the
country. the reader actions in the reforms that are supported by the majority of the people. so, if people go around saying i have to get one out of 100 people in my town or in my congressional district or in my state legislative district to put in two or 300 hours a year on an issue they believe in it people put more than that in the game for doubling the lead and for watching. they've demonstrated in front of
mcdonald's, burger king, wal-mart saying there are 30 million workers in 1968 adjusted for inflation. and you want more consumer demand if you want a prosperous economy. less than the a population 100,000 people scattered around the country. maybe there's a few groups like ours contacting politicians and writing and putting out reports. but does that not encourage but that's not encourage people? that's what made obama pay attention and cities and towns say we are not waiting for the federal government which is still stuck at seven. they are raising it. so $15 an hour over three years. so, less than 1%. wall street was up 1% of the ruling class. we need to talk about the other 1%. the majority support what abraham lincoln said its
political. with public sentiment you can do anything. and there's so much majority support for the whole areas of improvement through the country and minimum-wage restoration. it's huge support into supporting against the empire. they were red blue that is the divide and the ruling tactic. there are differences. it's called unstoppable in the alliance to dismantle the appropriate state. >> host: and how often we are
put into the red and blue situation. and again, basically going out of politics and things that really don't necessarily affect our lives in a very direct way but yet we continue to be very divided and like you mentioned, we have so much more interest. >> guest: it is left and right they have handouts and giveaways but they allowed the focus and that falls into the trap where we disagree.
they pay attention to the areas and it's over for them. they are not going to be ruling this. it's unstoppable. the thing that senator fears the most. that's what's causing the juvenile justice legislation. that means jobs in every neighborhood. >> host: you spoke about the 1% which i haven't heard you talk about specifically. you are saying that if 1% of the people get activated actually they can do others. there've been books written about the tipping point.
but you're saying that you really don't need a 10% especially i suppose that you take into account the new social media and other ways people can reach people. a >> guest: it is public opinion. it's over 50 or 65 higher minimum wage. once you get beyond 60 you've got an unstoppable public support and opinion. then all you need is 1% or less. they have handfuls of people that you can put in an auditorium all over the country disagrees, tactical smart. there's a lot of smart people in this country. they don't give them chance to be surgically smart. that's why i tell people humorously that when you meet people, why waste it by saying
this is is that just a matter of noticing the urgency or is it a matter of a process issue, what is it that stops people from moving at the speed? >> guest: in history the greatest changes occur pretty quickly in the legislation quickly in terms of the decades. for example we have auto safety regulation. my book came out november 30 and by september that the next year when dave johnson had a signing the motor vehicle highway safety laws and on the other hand, president truman recommended medicare back in the 40s and we still don't have it. >> host: it was a very
different time then. we have them been as the head of the entire news cycle and suddenly whatever issue you are working on his way down the chain. how do you fight that? >> guest: blessed than 1%. you can always find 1%. and not only that but you get the instant public reaction on the social media. you don't have to wait for the gallup poll. so that's another plus that's important. unless they are ready to retire they want to be reelected. the votes are important. there is money to go on tv to try to get a few more votes.
and once the message is clear even to the ones that you think would never stand for the environment or the climate change, for the consumer protection labor rights, just like that. we had right-wing senators and representatives that could care less for the industries. and within a couple of years they were grazing consumer advocates and they passed almost unanimously in the house even if it was opposed to the end by the auto companies which are powerful forces. once the people wake up, once the people feel the power and once they understand the bumpers and strategy reflecting the majority opinion, one victory like the minimum wage will lead to another victory and lead to another and another. i think there will be a major push for the single-payer as the
insurance companies in the next few months raise their premiums enormously and start - >> host: we are seeing from the business perspective the impact of obamacare and the affordable care act. i should say how complicated it is. and i'm thinking why can't we just have single-payer? >> guest: it is unbelievably complicated. in order to make it compliant. the competitions are here taking for everybody. business everybody. but it creates consulting firms including litigation. now the obamacare legislation is hundreds of pages long. the regulations are thousands of pages. you know how many pages the
canadian medicare for everybody was in the late 1960s? thirteen. you can have a hip replacement or break a hip. the american people see reams of them as credible bills and that's why a man like malcolm sparrow estimates that the fraud just by computerized billing fraud this year is at least $400 billion. billion with a b.. so we are dealing with fraud, crime, complexity it generates profits and it's this perverse incentive that we are tying ourselves in knots with the corporate tax and with
healthcare and forms and do you qualify for a subsidy etc. and copayment, why are we tying ourselves up because we've lost confidence with ourselves. we've lost confidence in history and how we change things for the better and we don't know the 1% rule. >> host: the one thing that it's done is to trade agreement. they are great advocates. suddenly it is on everybody's radar and there's a lot to be learned and there is a complicated issue that it isn't just black and white. it's a complicated issue.
>> guest: we got her into this and she's a coalition called trade watch.org and she's taken this competition and you will see it on the website and and boiled it down to precise shifts of power to the global corporations over the democratic procedures and the environment consumer labor going into the secret tribunals. we have the corporate wall firms and the people in congress and the president of the united states and they don't have a half of 1% around the country.
you don't have to tell people that they see it everyday every day in the towns and villages and cities. it's seriously engaged in the rational district and on capitol hill. they don't have that vanguard. the two worked together. that's the whole point of the return to sender. it's not just showing people use on all kinds of interesting things affecting your life and they don't care or acknowledge the letter. it's to try to get people and we will try to get a social studies teacher around the country. we want to have a contest where students with the best letters
judged by the panel of social studies teachers and they win prizes and get them engaged because once you've written a letter you are much more committed on the issue that you are writing a letter on and when you are just griping about it coming you internalize it and become cynical and you withdraw and produce the vacuum. >> host: there was a lot of speeding happening around the street and they wanted to slow cars down. the third grade third-grade decided to make that specific project and every kid in the class is hooked because they see they were able to make an impact and they all stood around.
test on tuesday test on thursday, high-frequency curriculum. look, one day a fifth grader at a little girl walks into a classroom in salt lake city and says to the teacher i think that i've located a waste dump and she says what are you talking about, she's only five blocks away. so, they took a little journey and it was like a square block with brush all over it. they put up the second edition.
they were in learned about the second responsibilities - civic responsibilities. we have to stop thinking. because that is what the power structure wants. in a way that we grow up corporate as was once encouraged to do and live our private lives and it is increasingly degraded into standard of living. what has been your biggest disappointment with say for the last president, obama has been almost seven years. they came with so much hope. the word has been overused. and i think that may be included in that way of excitement that brought an then and and a lot of
us were disappointed in many ways. you were speaking - don't raise your hopes too high that what has been your biggest disappointment to you think? >> guest: in my own small way i ran against him in 2008. you can see that he was and in numerous. he was trying to figure out how to climb the ladder of power.
he wanted to climb the power structure and wanted to win so he was easy on the military-industrial complex and the war machine. and he wasn't elected on that mass movement. there were no populist mass movements where they sent him there. they had an e-mail list of 13 million people that send money and that's the problem with all of these politicians unless we have a mass movement like we did in the populist progressive period. they didn't have a transformative period and the worst thing is he didn't have the personality to deal with congress, he didn't like it.
whatever it is call it. they have to have that transformative ability and i think that for a lot of us we saw that as a potential. they had to affect some great change from the get-go. he was transformative in terms of the votes and bringing minority groups in and he gave a good speech but it stops at the water's edge when he had to go into deep water as a president he had that critical two years when the congress was dominated by the party the house and senate. and he promised us he was going
to go for $9.50 minimum wage by 2011. he never mentioned it in two years when he could have gotten it through congress in same with health care. so they don't like this in the big majorities less than 1%. >> host: hasn't been talked about we have a majority of the house, senate and president. all democrats and get to that moment passed. >> guest: most people don't talk about it. >> host: i am able to vote in the iraqi parliament today.
my daughter that was born here is able to vote in the iraqi parliament and they couldn't vote for a representative here in dc. it's for the two senators and a representative. the thing is people have to be a little supportive of us here. terrace, london. the statistics show 80% of showed 80% of the people in the country don't even know that.
>> host: they don't pay attention to it just like every other slogan after a while. >> guest: and they are to blame. if both parties have been complicit in this issue. >> guest: either way the website for the statehood for dc. >> host: dc vote does a lot of work on this issue. it's an important website to get started on. the green party has been talking about it a lot so that is an important element that we need to continue to push on. in the final few minutes i want to talk about the current election. we have three democrats running. hillary clinton, bernie sanders and martin o'malley. our any of them interesting you?
>> guest: hillary is a very confirmed militarists. she shoved aside robert gates who didn't want to attack libya and she got to the white house support and lydia was toppled and the dictator was beginning to negotiate with the west and others total chaos and the secretary revenge and isis is going in and i'll qaeda is there and cry if i is there and the weapons are spreading all over and it is spilling over into central africa, huge geographic areas to be held accountable for that, never seen a weapon system she doesn't like even though they are a huge waste. it's part of the highly placed women trying to overcompensate so they don't say you can't lead us you are too soft. even though the great tradition
muscular peace advocacy is more associated with women than with men. when it comes to domestic sometimes i have to accuse him of plagiarism he was very good on the pharmaceutical he was good on wall street and good on a good on the worker's rights and good on the tax reform. a little vague on the foreign policy. >> host: he's not big on israel. very hawkish on that issue is very supportive no matter what. >> guest: and he voted for the appropriations year after year. he's very sensitive to the industries in vermont like the dairy industry lets say and the machine tool industry that feeds a lot of this into the military equivalent. but he's going to have to take a strong stand on a.
and he cannot have a parallel campaign because she can sweet talk him during the debates coming up in the primary. i agree. i served with him in the senate. o'malley on the other hand he was. they work on the healthcare issues and the leave act. they have to develop a strategy. now on the republican side you have to have the 18 candidates and the worst is donald trump. assuming that he hangs in there he will have the whole
>> host: are you in communication with bernie? >> guest: he hasn't answered any of my calls and lost hope. 15 years i called him in a sad and he hasn't answered. in the auditorium before he came the mayor of burlington and vermont. i think that he doesn't like to be pushed in areas of progressive movement. so he is a long ranger and he is not a networker in the way that the senator was invested as engrossing representing the millions of people in the country in washington. he doesn't have that type of personality. so it's unfortunate because if all that we have our ten or 12 progressive senators and they are all lone rangers and they don't even have a caucus as i urged them to do in the letter that was never answered by the senators, senators, we are not getting anywhere.
>> host: maybe you could send them copies of that platform of congress. >> guest: is amazing. when he can make things happen, he doesn't. he is playing it very safe. i don't think that you're going to iowa and new hampshire. i think that hillary calls or collapses and if something happens where the popularity is damned down, he's ready. when he ran for president in 2004. >> host: thank you ralph nader. >> guest: you're welcome.
>> that was after words mac booktv signature program which offers of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policymakers and others familiar with their material. "after words" errors every weekend at 10 p.m. on saturday 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday and you can watch online go to booktv.org and click on afterwards and click on the upper right side of the page. this is a very busy summer but as we look at it some of the things that i've been reading really one for fun one really more as it relates like my work which is called talking with terrorists and so it's a very lengthy book that was
written by a georgetown professor wife of the previous ambassador that got in and actually did interviews with a number of terrorists so he gives you a bird's eye view with some of the motivations behind some of the terrific things that we see today so i felt like it was at least worth going back and concentrating on a particular book to try to understand what was going on in our world. outside of that, there's a couple of great books that are more of a fun read and one in particular is the book about right brothers and obviously being from north carolina we have a tremendous history there that we share with ohio and a number of other places with regards to the right brothers we
have the fantastic author and she does a great job of bringing history alive. it's holding the government accountable serving on the other side of the reform committee. some of the things are either done or about done as it relates to holding the government accountable. so it looks like it is going to be a fun summer as we looked around and i would encourage all of you to get out and read a good book and, my particular emphasis is looking at the historical books of great leaders of the past.